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Body found in hunt for American student missing in Rome

A body was found after Italian police launched an investigation into the disappearance of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student who disappeared after a night with friends at a bar in Rome.

Nineteen-year-old Beau Solomon's family told a local television station in Wisconsin that Solomon left last week to study at John Cabot University in Rome. They said he was at a bar Thursday night with friends but when the group decided to leave he was gone. It was only his second night in the Italian capital.

Italian police spokeswoman Lucia Muscari told CBS News Solomon was last seen at about 1 a.m. local time at a bar in Piazza Trilussa, in Rome's popular Trastevere neigborhood, on July 1.

Police confirmed to CBS News later Monday morning that a body had been found in the Tiber river, near the Marconi bridge, about one mile south of the area where Solomon was last seen.

Although police said Monday they are not able to confirm whether or not it was Solomon's body that they found, his school put out a press release saying it was indeed him.

A spokesperson for Italian investigators told CBS News the body had been found in warm water where it likely had been for four days. The coroner said it could be compatible with Solomon, but his family has yet to make a positive identification.

An autopsy will likely be performed on Tuesday. A homicide investigation has been opened, but it's not clear yet whether Solomon was killed or not.

Several police officers, including from the forensics squad, were at the riverside, with media being kept from approaching the point where the body was discovered.

Italian police and the student's family had said Solomon's credit cards were used since he disappeared.

Solomon's friends reported him missing at close to 10 p.m., after he failed to show up for orientation on Friday. They told the police he did not appear drunk when they last saw him.

Muscari told CBS News that Italian police were investigating the American's disappearance, checking surveillance cameras in the area, speaking with potential witnesses who were at the bar and his fellow students and staff at John Cabot University.

The statement from the family, who live in the village of Spring Green, about 40 miles west of Madison, said Solomon had just completed his first year as a personal finance major at UW-Madison.

"He's a social butterfly," Solomon's brother Jake told CBS affiliate WISC-TV. "He's loved by everyone, and he's the glue that keeps our family together."

Dramatic developments involving U.S. students, often shortly after arriving in Italy for a semester or year of study, are not infrequent. They are often surprised to learn that wine and other alcohol can be easily purchased in supermarkets and drinking often begins in early evening and lasts well past midnight.

In 2012, a U.S. student was allegedly stabbed by his roommate, a fellow student at John Cabot University, after what police said was a night of alcohol and possible drug use and Halloween partying. The stabbed student survived.

Also in recent years, a young American man, recently arrived in Rome for studies, apparently fell off a low wall, where many people sit at nighttime, and landed several yards below on the cement banks of the Tiber River near the Trastevere neighborhood.

Trastevere and the Camp de' Fiori Piazza areas are filled with pubs, bars and cafes, many of them frequented by U.S. students who do "pub crawls."

In another case, another young American male student, who had been reported missing after leaving a bar, was found dead near train tracks in a tunnel, apparently hit by a train in the early morning hours.

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